Revelation 22:6-7, “6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. 7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
- In verses 1-5 we see the final description of what we talked about last Sunday, new heaven and new earth, that is coming, and at this point it would be easy to think, “Well, that about wraps it up!”
- But, in verse 7 we see the reminder, “Jesus is coming quickly.” It is a reminder of urgency. The urgency is repeated in verse 12, “Behold, I am coming quickly” and again in verse 20, “Yes, I am coming quickly.”
- The word “quickly” in the original language means “Jesus is coming as soon as possible” and it would be easy for us to read Revelation 22 and think to ourselves, “How come Jesus hasn’t returned yet?” What is the delay? In 2 Peter 3 the Apostle Peter responded to the same people asking the same question:
Revelation 21:1, “1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”
- In Revelation 21, verse 1 we see the Apostle John describing a vision what is coming in the near future and it is a “new heaven and new earth.”
- One day, Jesus will return, evil will be destroyed, and “all things become new.” Everything will taste right. Relationships will function right. There won’t be gossip. There won’t be betrayal. There won’t be fractions in our relationships with one another. All things become new. Can you imagine how glorious that day might be?
Revelation 21:2, “2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”
- In verse 2 the “holy city, new Jerusalem” is a gathering of men, women, and children who belong to Jesus. The new city is a reference to those men, women, and children who are in Christ, being presented to Jesus as a bride.
In Revelation 19 we see the culmination of our justification, and it is the greatest celebration we could imagine. There’s a story at the end of WWI that at 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 WWI officially comes to an end. Ferdinand Foch, the commander in chief of all Allied forces on the Western Front sent a message by telegraph to all his commanders saying, “Hostilities will cease on the entire front on November 11th.
It is said that WWI soldiers had their watches in their hands waiting for the clock to strike 11:00, and then a curious rippling sound, which was described like a light wind, as men cheered for the end of WWI. What we see in Revelation 19 is that story times a million.
Romans 3:27, “27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.”
- You have to see how easy humanity gets involved in boasting, right? We boast about anything. We boast about success, “Look at how much I have achieved.” We boast about failure, “You wouldn’t believe the stupid things I have done.” We boast about anything!
- In verse 27 the Jews are boasting their ability to keep the Ten Commandments, who can pray better, fast better, and circumcision, and the Gentiles would boast just like we do today about our intelligence, strength, money, power, or social standing in the community.
Romans 3:21, “21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,”
- The phrase “righteousness of God” isn’t a common phrase we would use in our language today, but it means glory.
- Scripture teaches us we were created in the image of God, to dwell eternally in His glory (Genesis 1-2), but all of humanity has abandoned His glory to pursue our own glory (Genesis 3.)
- That is why you see every human being throughout history trying to leave their mark of glory on this world. Every human being throughout history is trying to make their life count for something. Every human begin is trying to accomplish something in life that makes them feel like their life matters, and it is because we are pursuing our own glory!
Romans 3:1-2, “1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
- In Romans 1 we see there is brokenness in humanity, and the Christian Jew in the Roman church in the first century would have said, “Yes, all those Gentiles, non-Jewish people, are immoral” but in Romans 2 the Apostle Paul says, “Well, not just the Gentiles, because Jewish people also have a broken relationship with the God of Scripture.”
- Then, in Romans 3, we see the Apostle Paul is assuming the questions he might be receiving in his letters, and writes “Then what advantage has the Jew?”
- I know this is 2,000 years ago with a specific ethnicity, but we ask these kinds of questions today also. There are times I am talking to people about their relationship with God and the assumption is that showing up on Sunday morning allows us to gain favor with the God of Scripture, or getting baptized places us in better position with the God of Scripture, or praying over our children every night is going to somehow guarantee that God will bless our children, “If not, what’s the benefit?”
Romans 3:3-4, “3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, and prevail when You are judged.”
- This might be hard to see, but the bigger question in verses 3 and 4 is the Jewish person is asking is, “Is our sin against the God of Scripture really that big of a deal?”
- The answer is, “Yes!” Our sin is that serious. The God of Scripture is that holy, and our sin is that devastating that we see a cosmic break between the God of Scripture and humanity.
Romans 2:1, “1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
- The phrase, “same things” is a literary cue to remind us of what was just went over in Romans 1.
- The Christian Jew in Rome, hearing Romans 1, would have nodded their head in agreement about the Gentile immorality in Romans 1.
- But, then in Romans 2, verse 1 the Apostle Paul is saying, “I am pretty sure Jewish people do the same thing, and it is because Jewish people also have a broken relationship with the God of Scripture.”
Romans 2:2-3, “2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”
- Lets make it practical: We do verses 2-3 all the time. How many times are you watching these politicians in the news get caught in lies, greed, power, selfishness, sexual immorality, and you find yourself thinking, “These people are horrible!”
- We love to say things like, “I hate hateful people.” Or, if you have children, have you noticed how many times you scream at your children, “Stop screaming! It’s disrespectful! You’re supposed to love one another!”
- All of humanity loves to put the offenses of humanity on trial, but we somehow conveniently remove ourselves from humanity.